New Zealand batsman Brendon McCullum. Photo: Simon Watts/Reuters

LONDON - Brendon McCullum raised the first big laugh on the day on Monday, as he referred to himself and the other marquee players on the T20 Global League roster as "T20 mercenaries".

It raised a giggle, but there was some cold truth in that Kiwi statement. The modern cricketer follows the money, and the latest pot of gold lies in South Africa at the end of each year, it seems.

“I think it is fantastic,” Kevin Pietersen, another of the marquee men said.

“I don’t have a choice in where I end up, but I have made it very clear as to where I would like to play,” the Maritzburg-born batsman said.

That bunfight will come in August, but ‘KP’ has already plotted his preferred base.

“Durban. It would make sense, I think. All my buddies are in Durban, my family in Durban. I have an affinity with the fans in Durban, so I think it makes sense to everyone,” he explained.

For Pietersen who dabbles in the BBL, Pakistan Super League (PSL) and the English T20 format, this league is a handy addition to the schedule.

“I would like to play well in South Africa, like I have done for the last few years. It fits into my calendar perfectly, just before the Big Bash and then Dubai for the PSL. That is why I play South Africa, because it builds into the season.”

There was a fear that many marquee players are long in the tooth, but Pietersen maintains otherwise.

“I’m 36 now, and I wish I was this fit when I played cricket for England.”

Fitness is also an issue for Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard, the two West Indian masters of the short format.

They travel with their personal physios, and they will take him with to South Africa. They were in London, too, dapperly attired, hired suits who swing bat and ball wherever the dollar is.

One will probably be in Cape Town, and the other somewhere with a beat. Mercenaries? What a time to be a cricketer.

The Mercury

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter